Built huge Hare Krishna community in West Virginia
Swami Bhaktipada, 74, who built a massive farm community in West Virginia and a Palace of Gold that became the crown jewel of the U.S. Hare Krishna movement before scandals and criminal charges led to his downfall, died Monday in India.
Bhaktipada had been hospitalized in July in Thane, India, with various ailments, said spokesman, former disciple and biographer Henry Doktorski.
Under Bhaktipada's leadership, the New Vrindaban community near Moundsville, W.Va., grew into what at one time was the nation's largest Hare Krishna community with more than 600 followers. But the community's membership waned after the swami was convicted of racketeering and sentenced to prison time in the 1990s.
Also known as Kirtanananda Swami, Bhaktipada had been born Keith Ham in Peekskill, N.Y., in 1937, the son of a Baptist minister. After doing graduate work at Columbia University in the mid-1960s, he became a Krishna swami in New York City.
In the late 1960s, Bhaktipada helped establish New Vrindaban, the community with an ornate Palace of Gold that became a destination for pilgrims in the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, or ISKCON.
In 1987, the FBI raided the community, seizing records and computers. Prosecutors accused Bhaktipada of ordering the killings of two devotees who had threatened his control of New Vrindaban.
Bhaktipada, who was excommunicated from ISKCON, denied any involvement in the killings, though another man was convicted of the murders and testified that the swami ordered him to commit them.
Prosecutors also alleged that Bhaktipada had amassed more than $10 million through illegal fundraising schemes, including the sale of caps and bumper stickers bearing copyrighted and trademarked logos.
Freed from prison in 2004, Bhaktipada moved to India in 2008.
Basketball coach at Huntington Beach's Ocean View High for 33 years
Jim Harris, 67, who coached basketball for 33 years at Ocean View High School in Huntington Beach, winning 19 Golden West League championships and three Southern Section titles, died Sunday after a bout with liver cancer.
Born April 13, 1944, in Kearney, Neb., Harris was the first and only boys' basketball coach in Ocean View history. For five years he also coached girls' basketball, winning four league titles. At one point his son, Jim Jr., played for him and his daughter, Kim, served as an assistant coach. Jim Jr. later became co-coach.
Two years ago, Harris' team, behind Avery Johnson and Anthony Brown, reached the state basketball finals, losing in the Division III championship game to Sacred Heart Cathedral, 62-55.
Harris had a 665-265 record at Ocean View. He gave a start to a young coach named Gary McKnight years ago, hiring him as a freshman coach. McKnight went on to coach at Santa Ana Mater Dei and become the winningest boys' basketball coach in state history.
Renowned expert in international law
Antonio Cassese, 74, a renowned international law expert who served as first president of the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal and later as president of the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, died early Saturday at his home in Florence, Italy. He had cancer.
Cassese resigned two weeks ago as president of the court set up at The Hague in the Netherlands to prosecute the assassins of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. He was still working as an appeals judge at the tribunal at the time of his death.
Cassese guided the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia during its first years of operation, from 1993 to 1997, and led the United Nations' International Commission of Inquiry into Genocide in Darfur in 2004.
Born in Atripalda, Italy in 1937, Cassese studied law at the University of Pisa. He was professor of international law at the University of Florence from 1975 until 2008 and a visiting fellow at Oxford University's All Souls College in 1979-80.
He published extensively on international law, particularly international criminal law.
-- Los Angeles Times staff and wire reportsCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun